Maxi Dress to Skirt Sewing Tutorial

The shirr sewing technique is a great option for refashioning  jersey maxi dresses into skirts. You’re basically creating a waist band for your garment simply using elastic thread. These step by step instructions and pattern will show you how to get the job done and have it look great.

It’s a great way to repurpose a dress you no longer fit into or an old favorite into something completely new!

how to sew a maxi-dress into a skirt pattern
Difficulty Cost Time Age Person Event
$25 to $50
30 Minutes


Inspired From:

Step by Step Instructions

  • Step 1

    1. Loosley hand wrap your bobbin with elastic thread. You will be sewing your rows of stitching, on the top side of your fabric, with regular thread for your top stitch and elastic thread in bobbin.
    2. Use a piece of scrap fabric to practice your shirr stitch. Adjust your sewing machine’s tension, stitch size and length, until your bottom stitch is perfect.
    (see below, this is the underside/bottom of my fabric)
    I tried a lower and higher tension, with a larger stitch setting, but got a bunchy bobbin thread. Then, I tried regular tension, with my stitch size and length set to 3 and it was perfect.

  • Step 2

    3. Cut your shirt or dress to a length that works well for your skirt.
    I cut my maxi dress so I could wear it as a maxi skirt, and I didn’t hem the top of the fabric! I simply began my first stitch right below where I’d cut the fabric. I stitched four separate rows, each time, starting at the side seam, and stitching on top of fabric, all the way around to meet side seam, following the navy stripe. Then vertically, along both side seams where I had shirred the fabric.

  • Step 3

    4. Finishing/option one-you can leave lengthy ends of elastic thread to tie to finish, so your stitching doesn’t come undone. Or……
    5. Finishing option two- you can forward and back stitch. This is what I opted to do!


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